Agencies set to bring back shop-with-a-cop programs

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Brian Hartman of the Greenfield Police Department and his wife, Stacy, bring gifts to a Greenfield family as part of the department’s 2020 Cops-4-Kids program. After not being able to take children shopping for gifts last year, the area shop-with-a-cop programs plan to bring back the in-person events next month. (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

HANCOCK COUNTY — After not being able to shop with county children for Christmas gifts due to COVID in 2020, county law enforcement agencies are gearing up for in-person gift-giving programs this year.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and the police departments in Greenfield, McCordsville and Fortville are accepting applications to help brighten the holidays for children of families who need a little assistance.

Last year, officers from all the agencies shopped for gifts but didn’t have the kids with them. They instead dropped the gifts off at children’s homes. But this year, they’re looking forward to going out with the children and experience the joy of Christmas with them.

Penney Weiler, the Shop “With A Deputy” coordinator for the sheriff’s department, said organizers will evaluate this situation should COVID cases increase.

“We really want to do the in-person shopping because part of our mission with this is to really make those connections with the kids,” Weiler said.

They’re accepting applications that can be picked up at the sheriff’s department for the event slated for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Walmart. Applications are due by Monday, Nov. 15, and applicants must live in the county to take part.

They plan to help as many as 40 children, but if the need is greater, thanks to generous donations, they can accommodate more.

“We typically average around 30 kids a year,” Weiler said.

The “Cops-4-Kids” event with officers from the Greenfield Police Department will be an in-person event this year, said Chuck McMichael, deputy chief and public information officer for GPD.

GPD’s application, however, has a section to allow parents to opt-out of an in-person experience if they want.

“We know some are folks are still not comfortable with being in close contact with others, so they will have the option to have the officers shop for their children instead of sending them,” McMichael said.

Applications are now available at the police department during normal business hours. Clerk Dana Nance, at the lobby window, can help with any questions. Applications are due back by 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19.

Each child will be able to spend $300, with $200 set aside for needed items like clothing and shoes while $100 can be used for things they might want, such as a toy or electronic device. Children 12 and older get an extra $100 this year because officials know items on their wish lists tend to be more expensive.

“We are excited to be able to take the children for breakfast and shopping this year,” McMichael said. “Last year was very rewarding, knowing that so many were in need during the pandemic, but just not the same without the kids.”

GPD’s event is scheduled for Dec. 5.

The McCordsville Police Department is partnering with other agencies including the Fortville Police Department, to brighten children’s Christmas this year.

Their “Holidays with Heroes” event is at 8 a.m. Dec. 4 at the McCordsville Meijer. Families that would like to participate can email Detective Dan Trejo at [email protected] or stop by the McCordsville Police Department during normal business hours to pick up an application. The paperwork must be turned in by Friday, Nov. 19. Applications have also been given to the surrounding churches and schools in the area.

Families in the Fortville area can find the application on the town’s website, www.fortvilleindiana.org. It must be returned at [email protected] by Friday, Nov. 19.

Aaron Watts of the McCordsville Police Department said volunteers from the Fortville Police Deparment, Vernon Township Fire Department and Buck Creek Township Fire Department will join McCordsville officers for the event.

Watts noted they could not make so many kids happy this holiday season without the help of Meijer and Daniel’s Vineyard, who will be serving a free brunch after the event for all the participants.

“We are just thankful that we can participate and share a great time with the families in our area,” Watts said. “We know how difficult the last couple of years have been, and we hope this event can brighten the holidays for several families.”

The shop-with-a-cop programs are part of a larger campaign in the county to provide assistance to families over the holidays. Hancock County Christmas Connection, a collaboration among the county’s four school districts and community organizations, is accepting applications for assistance and is also seeking volunteers to help families in need. More information is available by contacting Love INC at 317-468-6300, or Terry Miller, one of the coordinators at 317-462-1492 or [email protected].

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Law enforcement holiday shopping programs for children:

Shop with A Deputy, hosted by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

8:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Walmart.

Applications available at the Sheriff’s Department and are due back by Monday Nov. 15.

Applicants must live in the county to take part.

Cops-4-Kids, hosted by the Greenfield Police Department.

8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at Walmart.

Applications are now available at the GPD during normal business hours.

Applications are due back by 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19.

Holidays with Heroes, hosted by the McCordsville and Fortville Police Departments

8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 at the McCordsville Meijer.

Email [email protected] or stop by the McCordsville Police Department during normal business hours to pick up an application. The paper work must be turned in by Friday, Nov. 19.

Families in the Fortville area can find the application online at the town’s website. It must be returned at [email protected] by Friday, Nov. 19.